“Christmas in July” at the farm

We had a great workshop yesterday at Beelarong Community farm when I have my allotment. We celebrated “Christmas In July”.

It was run by Craig Arnett who is a qualified chef and a volunteer at the farm where he gives special care to our fruit trees and the food forrest. He was assisted by Judith, she has an allotment at the farm, does volunteer work in the community garden as well as being on the committee.

I snapped away.

Judith set up the Christmas theme with the tree and table decorations. She gathered the flowers for the table centre from around the farm.

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Craig set up the kitchen with the Primus stove set up on the table (you can see the blue lid) and the farm’s barbecue which you can see on the right. It has a wok burner on the side as he would be needing that for the cooking of Asian Greens.

And he gave me a smile.

Fortunately he is a better chef than I am a photographer (I meant to focus on Craig, not the garlic!)

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The menu was Twice Cooked Pork with Crushed Potato and Asian Greens followed by ‘Christmas Trees’ as a dessert, a delicious confection of light as air pastry, whipped cream and strawberries.

It was a hands-on workshop and here are a few shots taken as we prepared the food under Craig’s instruction.

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We were each given a whole boiled potato to ‘crush’. This exposed the inside of the potato and gave us a larger outside area to crisp up. They were then placed in a baking tray, given a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper ready for roasting in the cob oven.

The twice cooked pork had already been boiled the night before. We placed it in a roasting tin, covered with a delicious marmalade sauce, ready to be finished off with a roasting in the cob oven.

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Folk lined up ready to put the pork and potatoes in the cob oven

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Craig explains the workings of the cob oven

While meat and potatoes were cooking we took a walk around the farm to gather Bok Choi for the Asian Greens. These were stir fried with garlic and ginger in the wok. The meal was then plated up and drizzled with the special marmalade sauce, we sat down together, and it was absolutely delicious.

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We watched Craig prepare this Christmas Tree, complete with snow.

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Then it was our turn. Here is mine. The sugar syrup got sort of mixed up with the ‘snow’ and my ‘branches’ had a mind of their own. But you know what – tasted fabulous!

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To top it up, we were entertained with Christmas songs.

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It was a fun morning. So thank you to Craig and Judith, and to John who got up early to light the fire in the cob oven.

This workshop was part of the Brisbane City Council’s GOLD (Growing Older and Living Dangerously) program. If you live around the Brisbane area it’s worth checking out their website.

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathyandchucky
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 08:58:28

    What a wonderful day for you all Jean 🙂 Theres something lovely about celebrating Christmas halfway through the year. For us, it means we can have a winter christmas just like the folks in the Northern Hemisphere. Loving the cob oven cooking and the use of all your lovely fresh produce.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 10:13:33

      Hi Cathy. It’s nice to celebrate this mid-year Christmas when the weather is colder. Although we used the barbecue and the primus stove visitors are still fascinated by the cob oven so we use it as often as we can. And it roasts beautifully. We always use food from the community garden when we have any events on at the farm. Good to share lovely fresh veggies.

      Reply

  2. MrsYub
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 09:02:19

    Wow, that all looks so good! The food made my mouth water!
    I would have loved to be there for he Christmas songs 😀

    Reply

  3. Maria
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 10:27:42

    My goodness what a lovely celebration you all had…the food sounds yummy and I love that dessert idea! The decorations and flowers are charming. A friend wrote a derogatory comment on facebook yesterday about people who celebrate C in J…how curmudgeonly (?) of her I thought, so I posted those photos of my gifts in the C in J bloggers swap on my FB page! lol I think that anything that brings people together to have some fun, must be a good thing! lol

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 10:56:38

      Hi Maria. It was a fun morning even if, according to your friend, we are doing it at the wrong time of year! Any excuse for a party. We get to do it again, like the rest of the world, on December 25th.
      Craig went to a lot of trouble to come up with a really special meal. He is a good educator so we learned lots and all enjoyed helping in the preparation. They were a lovely group of folk who turned up and I do hope that we are able to see them at the farm in the future, maybe to join us in the community garden.
      You know Maria, I feel really silly because something has just struck me – I commented on your blog that it was a coincidence you and I celebrated, separately, on the 25th July. It was no coincidence at all was it? It was the 25th! Dhhhhh she says slapping her forehead.

      Reply

      • Maria
        Jul 26, 2013 @ 17:29:01

        Lol Jean! But actually the C in J celebrations are held on all different dates so don’t be so hard on yourself! 🙂 my local quilt shop have a big afternoon tea earlier in the month and some restaurants run special nights or even a whole week! But they’re probably about making money though?

  4. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 11:09:05

    Looks like fun!

    Reply

  5. Natalie Cleary
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 16:10:24

    Looked like you had a wonderful time. That food looked amazing!

    Reply

  6. narf77
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 06:03:26

    I am officially terrified of that angry lady wearing horse gear. Did she accidentally stumble on the Christmas in July meal whilst havint to wait for dobbin to drop in? She certainly doesn’t look like she beggars any complaints! Your Christmas tree looks more like a swan but I bet it tasted lovely :). I am researching “The Goodies” for a post that I am about to do and the man in the image at the bottom of your post is the spitting image of Bill Oddie now! Kudos on homing in on my brainwaves 😉

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:35:33

      My Christmas tree did look more like a swan now you mention it. The banjo player was as talented as Bill Oddie. Not sure if mr Oddie strums though!

      Reply

      • narf77
        Jul 30, 2013 @ 03:11:13

        LOL! He certainly “twitches” ;). I hear Mr Garden (Graham) from The Goodies plays a mean guitar and banjo so maybe he could join Mr Oddie down on the farm? Do you remember that episode of The Goodies where they went to the farm and everything was automated and they had actual “battery” hens? ;). I am writing a post about that soon.

      • Allotment adventures with Jean
        Jul 30, 2013 @ 04:32:24

        I don’t remember that episode Fran. I’ll have to do a bit of Googling, I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere.

      • narf77
        Jul 30, 2013 @ 16:28:23

        Don’t worry Jean, narf7 to the rescue! I am going to do my post about it 🙂

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